Planting new sod with a few tricky problems to overcome
I am planting new sod in my backyard. Naturally, I've been combing the organic lawn care forum for answers/suggestions/advice. I'm getting close to DDay and need some advice. Sorry for the wordy post. Just want to give as much info as possible. We live in Los Angeles, Pasadena, to be specific. We bought the house from a family that owned it for 63 years and they had Monsanto mow and blow doing the yard since the times of the dinosaurs. I'm sure it's filled with evil, chemical crap. Except under my concrete... Hee Hee! Can't reach me there! I have not fertilized or done anything except water the front lawn and ignore the backyard while restoring the 1927 house for about a year and a half.
I know now is not a great time to plant sod. This is problem number one, however, I have one year old greatly in need of grass to play on. Any suggestions on overcoming this not ideal weather? We really need grass ASAP.
Problem number two is related. I have a long established St Augustine front lawn that is relatively happy but destroys my sons little knees when he plays on it. It's harsh stuff. I do not want to bring the St Augustine from the front into the back. I am even planning to have my own mower for the gardener to just use on the backyard to limit contamination to my new sod and organic vegetable garden and chicken coop. Is this realistic to control the St Augustine (which my husband likes and I dislike) and keep it from taking over?
I want to plant my sod organically since my son will be on it and my garden and chickens are organic. I've hired a guy to Rototill the yard since I pulled out a 50 year old concrete slab covering the entire yard. We have clay soils but there are earthworms, a decent amount. (yay! Life!) I am planning to bring truck loads of compost in and maybe add some alfalfa. I can do meal or pellets, but was wondering if anyone had input on which would be better for new sod on barren soil, essentially. I am planning to plant a KBG mix with rye since it may be the best fit for us.
If you could do it all right, what would you suggest?
Compost? Alfalfa? Meal or pellets? Should I add molasses to feed? Anything I'm leaving out? We are putting in a brand new sprinkler system with rain birds and bubblers for my garden. (my husband wants automated. I want to hose, oh well)
I'd love to give the grass a fighting chance. I really do not like grass but my son will really benefit from having a soft area without nasty chemicals to play on. I know we are getting towards the hot season but I feel like if I get it in now, we have maybe 6 to 8 weeks for it to get going before summer really starts cooking. I want to make my husband and son happy, but also keep me happy with organic stuff as much as possible.
I plan to try and rehab the St Augustine at some point, but that's another post. Oh and, would love to get rid of Mr mow and blow, but my husband will not let me! So sprinklers in my garden and terrible gardener in my hair, is my cross to bear. At least he knows better than to touch any of my beds. He's seen me out there with the axe taking out roots! ;)